Letter to parishioners, 2 October 2020

Read a letter dated 2 October 2020 from Revd Stephen to parishioners

Friday, 2 October 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

This week’s letter has to open with news of a great event that will be taking place in our Benefice in the coming week. On Tuesday, 6 October our curate, Revd Aron, will be ordained into the priesthood by the Bishop of Grantham. The service will be in St John’s Church, Corby Glen. I know that some people have spoken of this moment in Revd Aron’s journey as though it is the end of a journey – after many years he has arrived at his destination. Nothing could be further from the truth. When God calls a person into his service as a member of the clergy the period of discernment, selection and formation is long. There is no short cut for anyone. So, yes, there is a sense of ‘I have finally got there’ when the Bishop lays on his hands and authorizes you to live and work as a priest in God’s Church. But, that moment is very fleeting indeed. After that moment of ordination a whole new world opens up, a whole new world in which you have handed over control to God.

In the gospels we read of moments when people are called by Jesus to join him in spreading the Good News and in ministering to the people amongst whom they live. In some of those accounts we see people who have established and comfortable lives abandoning all that worldly security to follow the Lord. At other times we read of people who want to follow Jesus but who want to sort out their earthly issues first. Whilst the latter group may seem to be acting in a serious and sensible way, they are not the ones identified by Jesus as being right for the journey that he knows lies ahead. The call to anyone and everyone from Jesus is one of total commitment and total submission. That word, ‘submission’, is often associated with weakness. Not so in the Christian life. All who profess the faith of Christ will find times when they are disheartened or challenged, criticized or ridiculed, doubtful or confused. Those moments should not be denied. Those moments are the times when faith becomes the most important thing in anyone’s life. Those are the moments when Jesus is inviting us to put all of our trust in him, and to follow where he is leading.

For Revd Aron his journey has reached a critical moment. As I am writing this letter he is in retreat with other deacons who are to be ordained priest over the coming days. All of those deacons have spent a year serving their communities of faith in a wide variety of ways. Over these few days they are being given the space to pray and to meditate on the challenges that lie ahead. Are they ready to become priests? Are they ready to put themselves at the service of the Church, wherever that may lead them? Are they ready to set aside all the ‘life plans’ they may have once cherished in order that they may journey on as servants of Jesus Christ.

Revd Aron will be serving out his curacy with us for at least two more years. During that time we are all called to help and support him as he matures into the priest Christ has called him to be. Let us journey with him, let us constantly hold him in our prayers, and let us rejoice that we have been blessed with the opportunity to help a priestly disciple take his first steps along a path that only God can see. Let us also pray for ourselves as we strive to follow Revd Aron’s example of offering himself in love and service in Christ’s name.

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen